Work/ legalities

my question is, is it ok for your line manager to refer to your health during a yearly review ? This is not a q re feelings, it is about legal stuff. ? I ‘feel’ it’s wrong, but it’s whether it’s ‘discrimatry’ or not would be good to know. (I work for a big company)

I would say it depends in what way they referred to it. But I’m not a lawyer. I’m sorry but can’t remember from your previous posts whether you have informed your work place of your diagnosis, what I’m getting at here is have they made adjustments to help you in work so your performance isn’t effected. The Acas site might give info or are you in a Union, if so you could phone up their legal section. I’ve done this and found it helpful in respect to work issues.

If you have mentioned your health issues to your line manager then he/she maybe thinks these issues should be brought up in an yearly review.

I told work of my diagnosis. ( I was off sick for 4 weeks when weird stuff was happening to me) it was after taking steroids which stopped me sleeping that I had to accept I needed time off. That was 10 months ago !

the comment on my review was. ‘Xxxxxx has struggled with her health recently. Although I know she has tried really hard this has impacted her considerably.’

that was what was written, verbally when it was read to me ‘considerably’ was replaced with ’ capability’.

no discussion was had re my health or ms.

I feel my line manager is ‘trying’ to be supportive, possibly, but really does not know how to be and does not seem to understand that they have obligations.

I feel I need to ensure I understand my rights, to ensure I maintain my job, as I truly love it (lol, not every second)

I am certainly not able to offer expert or legal opinion,but am glad you are on the ball enough to pick up on a subtle difference between the written and verbal statement. I would guess most peeps may not have noticed that one word ‘capability’? My wife was dismissed eventually(after a longish fight of 6+ months) from her job for the reason of ‘Medical capability’. Capability is a legit reason and correct terminology for a dismissal, i would suggest its not everyday language to most of us? And wouldn’t expect a line manager(in a supermarket? if i am not mixing you up with someone else) to slip a word like that in place of considerably,unless she had heard it recently in discussions to put it in her mind.It does suggest they have heard the term,which likely only senior managers and HR are likely to be using? I would be contacting the Equality commission for advise on the equality act and perhaps acas as well if i were you and where ever possible getting as much evidence as possible of everything! Email is accepted by tribunals as evidence,Is Email exchange possible? could you question this point and get an answer by email as to why they used this term? Of course they will likely say it was just a slip of tongue but an admission of such a slip is proof the term was used, and would be be seen as suspicious if they started ‘Capability’ action shortly afterwards as i suspect may be case! Like i say just my thoughts/opinion please get proper advise regarding the equality act and try to ensure suitable adjustments are made for you in the workplace as required by law if you need them.

Thanks for your replys, O173, /krakowian, chatterbox. For now I will just be making a note of things and stick to my ‘just keep smiling’ mentality. It feels good to share in a safe way, so thankyou.

Hi Sarah

Sorry to hijack your thread but I am also going through something similar and on Wednesday this week I am going to be attending a Capability assessment at work. I was told on Friday evening that this was going to take place.

The thing which gets me is that I have not had any “sick” time off work due to my MS. I have had a few days which were down to colds etc, and I do have a couple of hours every three months for blood tests and a yearly neuro appointment but nothing which stands out or makes me look “bad” compared to any of my colleagues.

There are three of us who carry out the same role at work and only two of us have been selected for capability assessments. Me and another chap who has had probably the same sick leave which I have had. He has no long term health issues. The other colleague is a typical sly character who is more than happy to slip a knife in your back should the opportunity arise.

I really don’t know where this is heading as I am more than capable of carrying out my role. I have not asked for any reasonable adjustments and have not been offered any. I disclosed my diagnosis 5 years ago and apart from receiving a company insurance critical illness payout (hooray) have not spoke to anybody about my MS or how it affects me.

The company put everybody in my department on a manual handling course recently and promised to give all members of staff equipment to help them with lifting and moving heavy items. This was about eight months ago and after asking for said items the company still have not provided any equipment. I feel that they don’t want to incur any costs and are looking to offload any members of staff who may need assistance.

I guess that you need to keep a note of all meetings and correspondence which you have with your manager/ HR. I also think that if you feel that you are being made to feel discriminated against then it might be worth talking to someone in HR and making them aware of your concerns. I think that within employment law you only have three months from the time the complaint is made to take a company to court. Hopefully it doesn’t have to go down that route.

Good luck

Not sure what field you work in, but in construction the health and safety executive would take a company to task if they hadn’t demonstrated that they had ensured they had minimised risks from manual handling. This includes reducing lifting operations, i.e changing tasks where possible to avoid lifting and where not then using equipment. If something happens the cost of equipment would be small beer to fines and reputational damage. I understand companies try to get away with things but they are leaving themselves wide open here.

It’s not construction, its a white collar industry…the problem is everybody is so wrapped up in gaining promotion and increasing their earning potential that those of us with disabilities are left behind and ignored. People at work don’t stand together and also don’t want to put their head above the parrapit when they see somebody struggling or being victimised.

I unfortunately feel that I am on a slippery slope to dismissal and can only hope that somewhere along the line my employer messes up and I can claim some sort of discrimnation for being dismissed unfairly.

The health and safety at work act is the over reaching legislation for all work places, risk assessments apply in all fields, manual handling comes under that. I work as a Civil Engineer, used to work on construction sites but now work for a local authority - mainly office based. So, your company may still be breaching the law. This would effect all employees not just those covered under the equalities act. The issue is how to rectify the situation. The reason I asked if you were in construction, is because sites, been high risk, are often inspected by hse inspectors and it would be easy to make a tip off. Not sure about an office environment, particularly in the environment you describe.